Monday, October 24, 2011

dinner in doggieland

So there’s a new guest at our table. Well, under our table, I guess. Or sometimes on the couch when she is good.

Dan and I adopted Mabel about three weeks ago and I have to say I haven’t given all that much thought to cooking. I’ve baked a few loaves of pumpkin bread, tested some recipes in the great new Jamie Oliver cookbook, made many cups of coffee and tea. We’ve eaten, and eaten well, but I’ve got my eye on that adorably scruffy face, not on what's on my plate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pumpkin bread

It's that time of year again, folks! Time for the annual dusting off of my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It has been proven to win over friends, loved ones, and co-workers alike. Hope you enjoy (again)!

Fall is here. The leaves are starting to turn and drop onto the sidewalk. I traded my sundresses and sandals for long sleeves and boots. And we finally put our air conditioner unit in storage, the true mark of the weather turning cooler.

I love feeling the brisk air and watching the leaves change. I love walking through our neighborhood and smelling the first lit fireplace of the season. I love pulling on a cozy sweater, needing to wrap an afghan around my shoulders while watching TV. But there's something melancholy about fall. As I watch the piles of leaves grow larger and larger, I can't help but think about the months of winter ahead--dirty, slushy snow, and sweating under a puffy coat, and the way our neighborhood turns from lush and leafy to drab and barren. I think winter kind of sucks, if you couldn't tell already.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

jamie oliver on cooking dinner

I don't get starry eyed over too many chefs, but Jamie Oliver is an exception. I've been a fan of his recipes since those weird early "Naked Chef" days and have been constantly impressed with all of the work he's done since then, from his London restaurant that employs at-risk teenagers to his efforts to end childhood obesity here in the U.S. His various projects are more than good P.R.; I think he really cares.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed him about the philosophy behind his new cookbook, Meals in Minutes. I have to say, this book is great. Even if you have many Jamie Oliver titles lining your shelves (and we certainly do) this one is different and worth seeking out. Instead of individual recipes, Meals in Minutes is based around three- and four-course menus that you can make in about 30 minutes or less -- which is ideal for dinner party-throwing, but also those I'm-hungry-what's-for-dinner weeknight meals.

What I like most about Jamie Oliver is his unpretentiousness about food. Unlike other well-intentioned people in the food industry, he doesn't get hung up on everything being just-so. In the interview, he talks about putting cutlery in a jar and having people set a place for themselves at the table, and how he makes scrambled eggs for dinner when time's tight and his family is starving. If he can cop to eating and entertaining like that, it should make us all feel better about our own sometimes-flawed methods.

It's not about being perfect, it's about making the effort.

[Photo: Meals in Minutes]

Monday, October 10, 2011

baby brunch

I'm not the type of person who coos over babies on the street. I'm a dog person. Nothing pleases me more than passing a cute dog on the sidewalk. I'm like a horny dude in that way. Except it's not women in short skirts I'm drooling over, it's well-groomed brussels griffons. (Swoon!)

With few exceptions, babies don't have the same effect on me. And then I crossed paths with an especially sweet five-month-old and found myself in L-O-V-E.

Well, "crossed paths" isn't really accurate -- her parents invited Dan and me over for brunch. Meeting babies has become somewhat of a new hobby for us. Suddenly there are so many babies for us to meet over dinner, or brunch, or drinks. Or virtual baby-meeting on Facebook or Skype.


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